L5.04: Assignment: Locating an Ebola Treatment Center



For your capstone and final assignment, you will select a location for a notional Ebola Treatment Unit in Monrovia, Liberia. Please note that our problem is hypothetical and bears no direct relationship to the location of planned clinics! The exercise uses data and a capability similar to the NGA Ebola Map site designed to assist Ebola relief in West Africa. Similarly, our parallel site is supported with Esri's ArcGIS Online, DigitalGlobe's Human Geography data, and hosted on Amazon Web Services. Your peer reviewed work:

  • Concerns insights about human activity on the Earth.
  • Applies the analyst's craft to develop a picture of the place.
  • Applies a simple data collection strategy.
  • Uses the art of geospatial reasoning informed by Geographic Information Technology within the structure of the Analysis of Competing Hypothesis (ACH) technique.
  • Will be assessed for consistency with the standards of the intelligence profession.

You might want to review the explanation of the ACH approach found in Structured Analysis of Competing Hypotheses: Improving a Tested Intelligence Methodology by Kristan J. Wheaton and Diane E. McManis. We are just using evidence and hypotheses that are geospatial in nature.

IMPORTANT - Submission Dates

This assignment makes use of Coursera's Peer Assessment tool. Use the following link to access the Peer Assessment tool. The key deliverables and due dates for this assignment are:

Submission Dates
Date Time Activity Your Task
9 February, 2015 Lesson 5 opens 0001 UTC/GMT (12:01 AM) Assignment Starts
  • Begin a forum discussion of locating an Ebola Treatment Center.
  • After this time, you can see the assignment and start working on it. You can save drafts of your work as you go along, and you can come back later to continue working on your draft. When you're ready to submit your work for evaluation, remember to click the "Submit" button. If the deadline passes and you haven't clicked "Submit" yet, then your saved draft will not be evaluated. Note: You can submit and re-submit your work for evaluation as many times as you want before the submission deadline, without any penalty. Only your last submission will be seen and evaluated by your classmates.Post this to the Lesson 5 Discussion Forum.
14 February, 2015 Due at 2359 UTC/GMT (11:59 PM) Submission Deadline After this time, you can no longer change your submission. If you have not clicked the "Submit" button by this time, your classmates will not see your submission, you will not receive an evaluation for this assignment, and you will not be permitted to evaluate your classmates' submissions.
15 February, 2015 Begin on 15 February at 0001 UTC/GMT (12:01 AM) Evaluation Starts After this time, you will evaluate the work of five (5) of your peers. Finally, you will evaluate your own work. Optionally, you can choose to evaluate the work of even more of your classmates before the evaluation deadline passes. This is very helpful for the success of the course. You are an awesome person if you do this. Remember: as with the submission stage, this evaluation stage is required if you want your own assignment submission to be evaluated.
17 February, 2015 Due by 2359 UTC/GMT (11:59 PM) Evaluation Deadline After this time, you can no longer evaluate the work of your peers or your own. If you have not finished your assigned evaluation tasks by this time, your own assignment may not be evaluated and you may receive a grade penalty.
17 February, 2015 Due by 2359 UTC/GMT (11:59 PM) Final Examination Deadline Complete the Final Examination.

There will be no exceptions or extensions to these deadlines. The Coursera Peer Assessment tool does not allow us to make individual-level exceptions.


The following is the hypothetical scenario. You are a volunteer providing short-term support to a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Monrovia, Liberia. You have available the information and capabilities of the below Ebola Map website which provides mapping capabilities, satellite imagery, and human geography data.


Using the Ebola Map and the proposed locations in Monrovia, Liberia, select where to establish the next Ebola Treatment Unit. You may optionally propose an alternate location in Monrovia but this is not required.


The coordinates in parentheses are longitude (X) and latitude (Y) expressed in decimal degrees that are suitable for ArcGIS Online.

  1. Given the criteria that the proposed clinic location:
    • is in an area known to have the Ebola disease present.
    • is in an area not served by an existing Ebola facility.
    • is in the proximity to existing medical facilities.
    • serves a significant population.
    • has access to transportation.
    • is in favorable physical environment.
    • is in a location safe for the patients and staff.
  2. Given three (3) pairs of coordinates of possible clinic sites:
    • Site 1: 6°18'10.1"N 10°47'20.8"W (or -10.789111, 6.302805)
    • Site 2: 6°15'32.2"N 10°42'06.3"W (or -10.701749, 6.258846)
    • Site 3: 6°19’59.7"N 10°43'57.6"W (or -10.732666, 6.333250)
  3. Given the below Ebola Map, view and explore GEOINT data of Liberia. Click on the map to access the interactive ArcGIS Online map of the possible clinic locations in Monrovia. Read about the Monrovia, Liberia Data Layers.
ArcGIS Online map showing the locations of the three possible clinic locations.
Figure 5.1: ArcGIS Online map showing the locations of the three possible clinic locations in Monrovia. (Click on the map above to access the interactive ArcGIS online map of the three possible clinic locations in Monrovia.)

Do the following

Step 1: Review the problem, background, criteria, and explore the technology and data. In our ArcGIS Online Ebola map, click on the "content" tab in the legend to display the full list of imagery and human geography data themes. Learn about the data. Develop a deep and rich mental picture of the place.

Step 2: Think about and apply a simple data collection strategy. Using ArcGIS Online and the data themes, forage for geospatial evidence to help in your evaluation of the hypothesized best sites in Table 5.1. Note the data you are lacking.

Step 3: Using the art of geospatial reasoning aided with ArcGIS Online's maps:

  • Determine if each piece of evidence is consistent, inconsistent, or not applicable to each hypothesized best location.
  • Review the matrix; reconsider the evidence and each hypothesis. If needed, add a new hypothesis and criterion/evidence; reexamine the information available. This is an iterative process and you may propose an additional site (Site 4). This site should be within the limits of our data in Monrovia, Liberia.
  • Focus on disproving hypotheses rather than proving one. Talley the evidence that is inconsistent and consistent with each hypothesis to see which evidence is the weakest and strongest.
  • Analyze how sensitive the Analysis of Competing Hypothesis (ACH) results are to a few critical items of evidence. Consider what would happen should this key evidence prove to be wrong, misleading, or subject to deception.
  • Ask what evidence is missing but would be expected for a given hypothesized location to be the "best" location.
  • Establish the relative likelihood for each hypothesis being the best location and report all the conclusions.

Step 4: Share and discuss your analysis in the Lesson 5 Discussion Forum. This is an opportunity to vet your analysis before you finalize your submission for peer assessment.

Step 5: Using the Peer Assessment tool, Coursera link post your selected location for the Ebola Treatment Unit in the appropriate terms and expressions provided in Tables 5.1 and 5.2. Discuss how you completed this geospatial analysis using ACH. Peer review your submission and four other students' submissions (total of 5 reviews) using the standards of analysis (Table 5.3). Please note the due date!

Table 5.1: Evidence Versus Hypotheses
  Hypothesis: Site 1 is the best location. Hypothesis: Site 2 is the best location. Hypothesis: Site 3 is the best location. Hypothesis (Optional): Site 4 is the best location. Specify the location.
Evidence Related to Criterion 1: The clinic is in an area known to have the Ebola disease present.        
Evidence Related to Criterion 2: The clinic is in an area not served by an existing Ebola facility.        
Evidence Related to Criterion 3: The clinic is in proximity to existing medical facilities.        
Evidence Related to Criterion 4: The clinic is located to serve a significant population.        
Evidence Related to Criterion 5: The clinic has access to transportation.        
Evidence Related to Criterion 6: The clinic is in a favorable physical environment at the location.        
Evidence Related to Criterion 7: The clinic is in a location safe for the patients and staff.        
Other evidence you included in the analysis. Add as many rows as needed.        
State the selected site using the appropriate terms and expressions from Table 5.2, below Referring to the Lesson 4 discussion of Analysis of Competing Hypothesis (ACH), describe how you arrived at your conclusion.
Table 5.2: Confidence Levels
Low Moderate High
  • Uncorroborated information from good or marginal sources
  • Many assumptions
  • Mostly weak logical inferences, minimal methods application
  • Glaring intelligence gaps exist

  • Possible
  • Could, may, might
  • Cannot judge, unclear
  • Partially corroborated information from good sources
  • Several assumptions
  • Mix of strong and weak inferences and methods
  • Minimal intelligence gaps

  • Likely, unlikely
  • Probable, improbable
  • Anticipate, appear
  • Well corroborated information from proven sources
  • Minimal assumptions
  • Strong logical inferences and methods
  • No or minor intelligence gaps exist

  • will, will not
  • Almost certainly, remote
  • Highly likely, highly unlikely
  • Expect, assert, affirm
Table 5.3: Analytic Standards
Item Analytic Standard
A Properly describes quality and reliability of underlying sources.
B Properly caveats and expresses uncertainties or confidence in analytic judgments.
C Properly distinguishes between underlying intelligence and analysts' assumptions and judgments.
D Incorporates alternative analysis where appropriate.
E Demonstrates relevance to the domain.
F Uses logical argumentation.
G If appropriate, exhibits consistency of analysis over time, or highlights changes and explains rationale.
H Makes accurate judgments and assessments.


This lab was developed by Todd Bacastow, Gary Parkhurst (DigitalGlobe), and Joseph Kerski (Esri). Esri and DigitalGlobe generously provided help creating this instance using ArcGIS Online, current satellite imagery, and human geography data as in the NGA Ebola Map.